Berman Should've Disclosed Trump Interference to Public First

NEW YORK, NY (09/14/2022) (readMedia)-- Yesterday, Geoffrey Berman, the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, published a book: "Holding the Line: Inside the Nation's Preeminent US Attorney's Office and Its Battle with the Trump Justice Department." In response, Common Cause/NY Executive Director, Susan Lerner, issued the following statement:

"Mr. Berman's new book reveals that the Trump administration repeatedly interfered in his investigations as the United States Attorney for the Southern District, one of the most significant and powerful offices in the Department of Justice. Rather than withholding this information for two years in order to juice book sales for personal profit, Mr. Berman should've immediately disclosed what he knew to the public, and certainly should have provided all of these details during his 2020 congressional testimony. It is not acceptable for public officials to hoard valuable information – about possible illegality – in order to cash in on it, when their first obligation must be to the people they're sworn to serve. Common Cause/NY believes that New Yorkers have a right to immediately relevant information about when and how their interests have been compromised."

Examples of interference from the Washington Post review:

  • He says that, after he declined to prosecute Craig, the case was "peddled" to the U.S. attorney in Washington. That office in 2019 prosecuted Craig for alleged false statements but lost the case after a brief jury deliberation.
  • He discloses a previously unknown investigation of former secretary of state John F. Kerry for allegedly violating the Logan Act, which Trump had pressed for publicly. Berman says his office was charged with investigating the matter two days after Trump tweeted about it. He also says the pressure repeatedly ramped up whenever Trump weighed in - a "clear" and "outrageous" pattern.
  • He says a Justice Department official pressured his deputy, Robert S. Khuzami, to remove all references to Trump in a charging document detailing Cohen's crimes. (Trump was listed in the document as "Individual-1," but his identity was obvious, and the document implicated him in the scheme.)
  • He says Barr stifled campaign finance investigations emanating from the Cohen case and even floated seeking a reversal of Cohen's conviction - just like Barr would later do with another Trump ally, Michael Flynn. (Barr also intervened in the case of another Trump ally, Roger Stone, to seek a lighter sentence than career prosecutors wanted.)
  • He says Barr took a keen, unusual and problematic interest in the Halkbank case, which involved Turkish bankers and government officials close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. At the time, Trump was close to Erdogan, who decried the probe. Berman says Barr "appeared to be doing Trump's bidding" by pushing for the charges to be dropped, according to the Guardian.